Youku launches its online video search engine

18 May 2011 16 h 23 min 21 comments

Share this Article


Tags: Inc, China’s largest online video company by market share, launched a video-searching service on Monday 17 May, a move that puts it in competition with search engines, such as Baidu Inc and Google Inc. The service,, focuses only on online video content and will cover major online video sites in China, according to the company news release.

After almost a year of development and beta testing,, Inc. recently officially unveiled Soku (, a search tool designed to take into account Chinese online video viewers’ real needs. “The new Soku will allow viewers to more quickly and easily find engaging video content as part of Youku’s “everything about video” strategy”.

Under this strategy, Youku focuses on all aspects of viewers’ video viewing experience, from producing and aggregating quality content to helping users find and watch the content that they find interesting. Youku describes the cornerstones of its service as “Watch, Search, Play, Share and Create.” By bringing search as a full-featured product with the official launching of Soku, Youku hopes to bring these five categories of user behavior closer together.

The Soku homepage sports a clean redesign, featuring a search box and links to regularly updated rankings of top films, television series, and searches organized by category. New features like the Ku Box — a smart search field that presents results and related suggestions in real time — cut down the time users spend searching for content, and a new recommendation engine will suggest related content that users might not otherwise have discovered. A search for the name of a director, for instance, will return a list of his or her films in the Ku Box. Soku’s redesign also extended behind the user interface, with many of the changes to the search engine not immediately apparent to users.

Soku now indexes content from top Chinese video sites, making it one of the first video search engines in China to do so. Rather than simply generating recommendations based on keywords or tags, Soku uses a number of factors, including past user behavior and users’ network speed. Leveraging on Youku’s wealth of content, it presents viewers with videos that they will want to see. By monitoring network speeds in different regions and at different times of the day, Soku can recommend fast-loading, smooth-playing videos to users in different network environments.

“With Soku, we’re capitalizing our knowledge about user behavior and applying them to the question of how we can shorten the distance between people and the content they want to watch,” said Youku’s Chief Technology Officer Jian Yao. “We want our users to be engaged — whether they’re content creators or content consumers — and the personalization that Soku now allows showcases our ability to help further improve users’ sense of engagement and participation on Youku. We believe Soku is faster and more comprehensive than any other Chinese video search engine.”

73,6% of Chinese online video viewers search for video content

“Youku received a license for Internet video search from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television this spring. Over the past several years, Chinese internet users’ video viewing habits have become increasingly search-centric. According to figures from Chinese Internet Network Information Center, 43.8% of online video viewers searched for video content online in 2009; in 2010, the same figure grew to 73.6%.

According to iResearch, Youku had approximately 231 million monthly unique visitors from homes and offices in March 2011 and approximately 52 million monthly unique visitors from Internet cafes in February 2011. Youku had a 37% market share in terms of total user time spent viewing online videos in China in 2010, according to iResearch.

SOURCES: Youku, China Daily (17/05/11)

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Other News

  • China (mainland) film Brilliant future expected for Chinese cinema: interview

    Brilliant future expected for Chinese cinema: interview

    Jiang Wen (R), a well-known Chinese director, walks down the red carpet with his wife Zhou Yun at the opening ceremony of the 70th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Aug 29, 2013. [Photo / Xinhua] (Xinhua, 04 Sep, 2013)Chinese films have achieved over the past few years very positive results in terms of both quantity and quality, and will drive their technology-led development, 70th Venice Film Festival president Alberto Barbera told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview. This venerable [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) film Cloudary extends script to movie industry

    Cloudary extends script to movie industry

    (, 26 Aug, 2013) Cloudary Corp – an online literature platform owned by interactive media giant Shanda Group – said on Friday that it reached a film script agreement with the Chinese movie firm Seven Stars Films. Seven Stars Films, a movie production and investment firm owned by Chinese media entrepreneu r Bruno Wu, will link Cloudary’s literature with the world’s movie industry. Wu, who is married to popular TV host Yang Lan, founded Seven Star Films in 2012. The [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) film China’s movie market booms with local content

    China’s movie market booms with local content

    ( Agencies, 23 Aug, 2013) In “American Dreams in China”, Cheng Dongqing is giving a lecture in an abandoned factory in Beijing . Snow falls through the damaged roof and a power cut sends students reaching for their flashlights. The movie , about how young Chinese in the 1990s tried every means to learn English so they could study overseas, is part of a boom in domestic productions that is outpacing foreign film s at the box office in China. [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) film Fast forward with film

    Fast forward with film

    (China Daily, 23 Aug, 2013) In the past year, Chinese films have galloped ahead like a dark horse, beating Hollywood imports. It is hardly surprising that most of these domestic hits are comedies. Comedy is mostly local. When Hollywood sent scouts to recover the secret formula, many of them reported that these Chinese movies were not particularly funny. Of course not. When you translate every line into English, you have lost much of the fun, leaving only a few sight [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) Digital Mobile game firms looking abroad

    Mobile game firms looking abroad

    (China Daily, 21 Aug, 2013) Intensifying domestic competition is driving Chinese mobile game developers into overseas markets, said Google Inc, owner of the world’s most used smartphone operating system. Japan and South Korea may become “sizeable” money-spinners for developers in China in the coming years, it added. “Tapping into South Korea and Japan makes sense for Chinese developers, because both countries have a large smartphone user base and high sales volume in the mobile gaming sector,” said Ben Zhang, China [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) tv PPTV denies buyout rumors

    PPTV denies buyout rumors

    (, 14 Aug, 2013) Online video provider PPTV has denied rumors it will be jointly acquired by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Hunan Satellite TV. “We have noticed related media reports. PPTV is operating independently, well, and we have nothing to announce at present,” PPTV told China Daily on Wednesday. A report from IT industry portal said on Wednesday that the prospective deal is almost closed, with the transaction reaching $400 million. It cited venture capital sources [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) film Film industry needs long tail to grow

    Film industry needs long tail to grow

    (China Daily, 15 Aug, 2013) The domestic film market registered record half-yearly box office returns of 10.9 billion yuan ($1.77 billion) in the first six months of this year, up 35 percent year-on-year, and there have been excited voices saying that the Chinese film industry is about to boom in the international market. However, box office success is just part of the industry’s chain, and without the further development of licensed movie merchandising, the Chinese film industry is still in [...]

    Read more →
  • Breaking news China (mainland) Digital New WeChat game becoming painfully popular

    New WeChat game becoming painfully popular

    (, 15 Aug, 2013) A new mobile phone game on WeChat, a social network app in China, is proving so popular that it’s causing hand injuries for many Chinese users. The game, which was recently introduced to WeChat’s 400 million subscribers, allows users to compete online with their friends in aircraft battles. Within two hours after the release of the game on Aug 5, there were more than 180 million downloads. But Zou Cheng, an orthopedic doctor at Hangzhou First [...]

    Read more →